[intro] When you have completed this Guide, you’ll know how to create Contact Groups, import Contacts directly from your EKM online shop, from uploading spreadsheets and more.
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[summary]

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On the EKM Email Marketing platform, a ‘Contact’ is a set of details for a person who has subscribed to receive email newsletters from you. Contacts can be organised into different ‘Contact Groups’ for different purposes - which is very useful if you have a specific strategy for the kind of email newsletters you would like to send out.

Before we begin, it’s important to understand that in accordance with GDPR legislation, you need to obtain permission from people in order to send them an email newsletter. For example, if a customer on your EKM online shop voluntarily entered their email address in the Sign Up field in order to subscribe your newsletters, they then automatically receive a notification from the EKM Response platform (a Sign Up Confirmation Email - you can read more about this by clicking here) where they click a link to confirm their subscription. This is known as providing consent via a ‘double opt-in’, as the customer has to do two actions - add their email to the Sign Up field and click the link in the confirmation email - in order to Subscribe.

However, if the customer wanted to subscribe to your newsletter in person, it’s down to you as the business owner to ensure that you adhere to GDPR legislation by recording what was offered to the customer when they subscribed, when they subscribed, how they gave consent and what permissions they gave with that consent.

One of the main purposes of GDPR legislation is to ensure that our personal data is protected, which means once common practices such as buying email addresses to send email newsletters to in the hopes of generating sales is illegal, as the contacts on these lists are unable to give their consent. To read more about GDPR legislation, please click here for the Guide.

From the Dashboard of your EKM Email Marketing account, click the Contacts tab:

This is the Contact Groups page, where you can add, edit and delete Contacts and Groups in a Variety of different ways. In my own EKM Email Marketing account, I have two Contact Groups - ‘Workshop Students’ and ‘Shop Signups’:

When a customer subscribes to email newsletters from my own EKM online shop, they will automatically be sorted here when I import them to my EKM Email Marketing account. The Workshop Students is a separate Contacts Group entirely, which I created when I uploaded my Contacts using a spreadsheet.

[tips]Using different Contact Groups is beneficial if you intend to collect subscriptions from more than just your EKM online shop - such as in person at a seminar or workshop - where it’s essential that you have recorded the consent details as they have not subscribed using the double opt-in method. It’s also useful if you want to offer discounts or promotions to Contacts who gave they consent a specific way - such as a big event, as you can easily create a Contact Group, add the Contacts either manually or via a spreadsheet and then send email newsletters intended for that Group alone.[/tips]

Creating Contact Groups

1. To create a Contact Group, click the green button in the top right-hand corner:

2. In the window that appears, give your Contacts Group a Name and a Description before clicking the green ‘Create’ button:

3. You will then see your new Contacts Group, which is waiting for you to add some Contacts to it:

4. At this point, you can either add Contacts manually if there’s just a handful or alternatively if you have a lot more to upload, use a spreadsheet. If you wish to use a spreadsheet to upload your Contacts to a Group on your EKM Email Marketing account, please click here for the Guide.

Adding Contacts Manually

1. To add a Contact manually, click the green ‘Add Contact’ button:

2. You’ll then see this window appear:

3. You will need to add the email address of your Contact into the field provided before clicking the Edit button to add the rest of their details:

FirstName, LastName - These headers are essential if you want to add a tag to your email greeting the customer by name to add a personal touch.

Address1, Address2, TownCity, Country, Postcode - These headers are optional; whilst you don’t need to know the postal address of the customer, this information is sometimes useful to have - especially if you want to wow your customers by sending Christmas cards through the post, for example.

4. When you have finished adding the details, click the green Save button:

5. You can also add Custom Headers too, if you wish to use them, by clicking Edit next to Custom Fields:

6. These allow you to add specific attributes to your Contacts, which can help you with promotions and market research at a later date. You can use Custom Headers to catalogue different attributes for each customer, such as:

Custom1 - The URL of their website, if they have one;
Custom2 - Where they signed up for the newsletter (name and date of workshop, seminar, etc.);
Custom3 - Individual discount codes (which can be set up for the customers in the Discount Management feature);
Custom4 - The Customer’s company name (if applicable).

7. When you have finished completing the fields, click the green Save button:

8. Then click the green Save button again:

9. You’ll then see this new Contact within your new Contact Group:

Unsubscribed Contacts

1. From the Contacts tab, click Unsubscribed Contacts on the left-hand side:

2. Any Contacts who decide to unsubscribe from your email newsletters will display here:

3. Contacts within a Contact Group can unsubscribe from your email newsletters at any time. All they need to do is click the 'Unsubscribe' link which is present in all of your newsletters. When a Contact unsubscribes, they will automatically be assigned to the Unsubscribed Contacts Group.

[remember] The number of Contacts within this Group do not count towards your tariff allowance, as that is based on the amount of Contacts within your other Contact Groups who can and want to receive your email newsletters.[/remember]

Once a Contact has unsubscribed, they cannot exist in any other Contact Group and the system will ignore them. The Contact can resubscribe if they sign up again using the sign up form on your EKM online shop, or if you click the Resubscribe button against that user - but you will of course, need their consent recorded to do that, as per GDPR legislation.

Bounced Contacts

1. From the Contacts page, click Bounced Contacts on the left-hand side:

2. Email newsletters that have 'bounced' from a specific email address can happen for a number of reasons, and it's recommended that any email addresses where bounces occur are removed from the Contacts Group. Once a Contact has been deemed as a bounced Contact, they can no longer be placed in any Contact Group. Continuation to send email newsletters to email address that bounce can lead to the email provider of that Contact's email address - such as BTinternet, AOL, Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, Live or similar - to believe that the sender of the email newsletter (you) may be a spammer who has lazy contact management habits and is not interested in removing potentially non-existent email addresses. Any blocking carried out is more than likely to affect multiple customers of EKM Email Marketing, so it is important that such occurrences are prevented.

[warning] The EKM Email Marketing system will pause for twenty minutes after the first 1000 Contacts of a Group have been sent their email newsletters. If within this 20 minute period, more than 10% of those email newsletters bounce back, the rest of the email send is cancelled. If the amount of bounces is less than 10% after 20 minutes, then the email send will continue. The EKM Response system will automatically remove users who have bounced three times in a row, but it is recommended that they are manually removed by you if they bounce twice. [/warning]

Pending Imports

1. From the Contact Groups page, click Pending Imports on the left-hand side:

2. On this page you can view the details of any spreadsheets containing Contacts that you have previously uploaded:

Import Contacts

1. From the Contact Groups page, click Import Contacts:

2. On this page, you can choose to upload a CSV file containing new Contacts by clicking the upper Import button, or import Contacts who have subscribed to your email newsletters on your EKM online shop by clicking the bottom Import button:

Importing Contacts from your EKM online shop

1. Click the Import button to for ‘Import EKM Customers’:

2. You’ll then see a number of fields you need to complete:

3. Use the drop-down menu to select the Contact Group you’d like to import your Contacts into, and then enter your shop username and password into the fields provided, before amended the Import Start Date to the date you would like to begin importing Contacts from. When you’ve completed this details, click the green Begin Import button:

[remember] If you’re not sure what the username of your EKM online shop username is, whilst logged into your shop account, click the down arrow next to your shop name:

This will reveal your Account ID:

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4. If there are no Contacts that have subscribed on your EKM online shop, you’ll see this notification:

5. However, if there have been some Contacts imported, you will be automatically directed to the relevant Contact Group to view your latest Contacts:

Export Contacts

1. From the Contact Groups page, click Export Contacts on the left-hand side:

2. On this page, you can download all of your Contacts onto a spreadsheet on your computer by ticking the box and then clicking the green Export Contacts button:

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[contact] If you need our help with your EKM online shop, contact your Account Manager or Customer Support, who will be able to point you in the right direction. We're open from 8am-6pm weekdays and 9am-5.30pm on the weekends. If you'd like to suggest a feature or an upgrade on any of the EKM platforms, please let us know on the EKM Suggestions board. If you have a non-account specific question ask the EKM Team, join us in ekmCommunity.  [/contact]